Because I got such positive feedback and interest from my post about writing Setting Descriptions, I decided to dedicate a post to writing character descriptions. For me, asking myself questions about how something looks helps me write more descriptively.
By popular demand, here are some tips on writing character descriptions. Below, there are some questions that may jog you brain.
A Face Only a Writer Could Love
Eyes are the window to a person’s soul, right? What do their eyes say about them?
What shape is the nose? Bulbous? small and turned upward?
Open up. How are those teeth looking? Pearly white? Stained? Missing tooth?
What about those kissable lips? Plump or thin lips?
Any facial hair?
How does the hair look? Long or short? Wavy, curly, or straight?
Think about specific hair color. There are many different shades of hair color. Not every blonde or ginger has the same tint.
How would you describe their frame/build?
Skinny arms or big muscles? Tall or short? Lean or chubby?
How do they dress and present themselves to the world?
What does their social standing say about what they wear?
What’s their skin tone? Do they have tattoos?
Any freckles? Birthmarks? Scars? Moles?
How do they laugh? Is it a small giggle or an obnoxious cackle?
What does their voice sound like? Deep baritone or high squeaky voice?
How do they walk? Are they dragging their feet? Taking confident strides? Have a limp?
Think about how emotion effects speech and appearance. Consider how the character is feeling that would alter their appearance. For example, if a girl is going through a breakup, her voice may be quivering, her hair might be thrown in a messy bun, maybe wearing cozy sweatpants.
No need for say exact height and weight. I’ve notice this while beta reading. I don’t really think the reader needs precise measurements.
Keep an eye out for people walking around your life. How would you describe them? What about their appearance stands out? I’m not suggesting to stalk or stare awkwardly at someone, just to be aware of people around you. (I used to do this while commuting on the subway.) Also, look at yourself in the mirror and think about how you would describe yourself to someone else.
Don’t word vomit a full description of a character when they are first introduced. Seriously. You can give a couple of key features right off the bat, so the reader has a first impression of this character. But, don’t forget to weave character details throughout the scene so it’s not one lump of a description.
What helps you write character descriptions? Let me know in the comments! And if your participating in NaNoWriMo this year, be sure to check out my Ultimate NaNoWriMo Survival Guide!
Write with Heart,